Monday, 17 December 2018

Tell the fat lady... she's on in five

EUreferendum blog picks up on the shenanigans in parliament today. I'm afraid it passed me by completely. For all that I am focussed on the Brexit debate, the dramas of Westminster seem barely relevant - elevated to a level of importance only by the legacy media whose output increasingly does not intrude on my reading of daily events and could not be trusted to get it right anyway.

We're living in two different worlds and the two are splitting further apart by the day as the playground in Westminster gets more and more surreal. They could very well to drop us into a "no deal" because they're so far detached from reality that they won't even understand what is happening until it has happened. This is a terrifying situation, where our political classes have totally lost it. They are not even close to understanding what is happening in the real world.

If this is how it plays out then I expect there will be hell to pay. People will want answers and they'll want to know why we are in such a mess. As ever we'll get the classic establishment narrative that the plebs were taken in by charlatans when we should have been listening to the experts. What won't factor into their thinking is why the experts weren't believed when it mattered - which is a whole other story. I will be here to remind them that the expert class did knowingly lie through their teeth to close down all alternatives to remaining.

I do have to hand it to the Ultras though. They've played a blinder in totally dominating the leave message, and saturating the debate with pro no-deal propaganda - but the real question is why has it not been adequately challenged in the media? Should the worst happen it will be the collective failing of our self-involved politico-media class.

Again though, I come back to the thinking that it is this very political dysfunction that makes Brexit necessary. If it wasn't Brexit then it would be something else to bring it all crashing down on us. It should be recalled that whatever price we pay for leaving the EU is the price of our political incoherence. There was always a plan in circulation to minimise the risks of leaving and to ensure continuity of trade but politicians and media who knew about it chose to ignore it because it did not originate from within the Westminster bubble.

Ultimately our politics is in the habit of electoral triangulation. They will never do the right thing if it loses them votes. Moreover, we could not expect them to do the right thing when they haven't the first idea what that even looks like. We might often remark that we would get better results from parliament if we just dragged people in off the streets - but given how debased the party system now is, that's more or less what we've got. For many constituencies the MP is the one person who bothered to apply to the party most likely to win. We are simply not intellectually equipped, politically, to make a good go of such an undertaking.

The story of Brexit, when it is told in the future, will be one of a political class crippled with indecision, paralysed by the enormity and boxed in by their own incomprehension. It will also be the story of how scum floats to the top. Of our 650 MPs, we only ever hear from a handful of them, and though we have some eye wateringly stupid MP's, we have heard so little from the silent majority whose own voices have been subsumed by ideological zealots on both sides. Again this down to the facile media fixation with confrontation between extremes.

As noted in yesterday's post, part of the reason our political class is despised is partly because we only seem them through the prism of our media. Television interviews are an alien setting, and when we see them at work, it's usually only at PMQs where any right thinking person would be disgusted. It's really at the committee level where we get to see who is worth their salt - and having sat through my fair share of trade committees I find they perform no better there either.

Some of the best performances have been by some of the Northern Irish MPs, not least because the outcome of this process affects them in a profound way. For all others, there is still a sense of disconnect. Some may have worked out that Brexit has implications for the flagship factories in their backyards but on all other concerns it is largely beyond their abilities. They don't know what questions to ask (or who to ask) and they don't understand the answers they get.

Part of the problem is that it wouldn't make any difference either way. The PM is deep in her bunker surrounded by gatekeepers who police what information they see. The best advice of experts does not get as far as the PM unfiltered and the fate of the nation rests on the leanings of the PMs advisers. We are not privy to their thinking at all. This explains the completely irrational rejection of the EEA option. The consequence of this is the further up the chain you go the less likely you are to meet anyone who knows anything. It is not at all surprising that Sir Ivan Rogers quit in disgust. I would.

This, though, is why I could never side with remain. If I wanted an easy life, the smart thing to do would be to vote remain, tune politics out entirely and get on with a much more lucrative and rewarding life doing something else entirely. EU membership at least ensures the shelves are stocked with the essentials. The question is whether that status quo, with a politics so fundamentally broken is sustainable.

If there is any genius to the EU system it is that it contains politics in a bubble of its own ensuring it can't go too far off the rails. It's got to the point where not only can parliament not exert its ultimate sovereignty, it doesn't want to either. They much prefer to churn over the same old territory while ducking the mounting and acute problems, to which their sticking plaster answer is unending immigration. For as long as the system is propped up with only the occasional hiccup there is no sense of urgency in addressing them. We have a largely indolent political class living the high life at our expense.

It would be easier still for the electorate resign itself to this dysfunction. They almost did. Leave won by a slender margin and were there a second vote they could likely be browbeaten into submission. Our political class finds it too boring and complicated to bother with so why should we go through the economic turbulence? But then, of course there is a reason to rock the boat as Sam Hooper points out.
Automation, outsourcing and globalisation have incrementally, relentlessly eaten away at the idea of a steady, 9-5 factory or retail job being sufficient to raise a family or buy a house. Millions of people who in decades past went through an education system which prepared them for little else now find themselves having to learn new computer or service-based skills from scratch, with almost no support or coordination from local or national government.
Even university graduates find that their degrees are of increasingly dubious value, and are obliged to virtually fight to the death for a coveted place on a corporate graduate scheme. The losers go back to live with their parents or work in minimum wage drudgery, wondering why their BA in critical gender theory hasn’t proven to be the passport to the slick professional city life they crave. Call centres and giant Amazon distribution centres have become the new dark satanic mills of modern Britain. Our present education policy should be focused entirely on this looming precipice, yet we distract ourselves by arguments over grammar schools or whether boys should be allowed to wear tiaras and tutus in class.
Social mobility in the UK is collapsing as a result of numerous pressures while our political class is not moved to do anything about it, which of itself is problematic, but this supine and politically inert culture is also giving way to a moral collapse where we are more vulnerable than ever to the perverse agendas of the degenerate left. 

To resign ourselves to the status quo would be an act of extraordinary national cowardice on the part of its politicians and its people. There is no doubt in my mind that a no deal Brexit will exacerbate many of the problems affecting the regions, but in many respects it will be a gentle shove to a system already standing to the brink. For all that we have heard threats of Airbus's imminent departure from our shores, crucial high skill work has been bleeding overseas since before Brexit was even a thing. As much as UK wage costs are high for every pound that goes to the employee, another must go to the treasury.

It would be nice to believe Tony Blair when he says we could call the whole thing off and entrust our rulers to make recompense, but they are capable only of the same thinking that brought us here to begin with. There is no basis on which to trust that they won't sweep it all under the rug and get back to the business as usual of managed decline.

It is very likely that the loss of single market participation will make it impossible for manufacturers to operate inside EU value chains. It is very likely that much of the defence spending that props up the regions will be cut and councils will yet again have to rethink their priorities. They can no longer afford their white elephants and flights of fancy. Politicians for the first time this century will have to address how we go on to meet the challenges of the new global era.

We are told Brexit is likely to trash our university sector. I'm hard pressed to find anyone who cares. They have abdicated their role in society to become creches for privileged children to keep them safe from the adult world for just a few more years - churning out PPE grads to be fed into the Westminster machine having never accomplished anything in the real world. All the while the lesser renowned institutes serve as a means to mask youth unemployment while offering them little in demand in the private sector.

It seems that the ones most concerned about the impact of Brexit are those most concerned with the impact it will have on a bloated and underperforming state apparatus. The very same apparatus that underpins their status and privilege. The same apparatus that underpins the makework jobs while our infrastructure crumbles and we squeeze ever more people into smaller and smaller spaces. 

Brexit is very much a kill or cure proposition but on present from, with the politics and media we have, we were on a certain death trajectory anyway. Brexit creates a policy space where the old simply cannot continue. In a very real sense Brexit forces us to rethink every level of government. That is exactly what I voted for. 

Whether we leave the EU with or without a deal is now n the hands of the gods. The die is cast and the outcome largely depends on the dregs of competence still left in the Westminster system. It is beyond our influence and probably always was. Soon we will know and soon the truth will out. The deceitful will get their just desserts and on that day politics will never be the same again. Who says there are no benefits to Brexit?

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